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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Lagos celebrates Appeal Court judgment, as NIWA goes to Supreme Court

Boss Mustapha NIWA CEO
The supremacy of control of waterways in Lagos State seems to still be in the news, despite the recent Court of Appeal judgment that gave Lagos State some clout over the waterways in the state.
The latest news now is that, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has taken the matter to the Supreme Court. 
In a press statement, the management of NIWA stated that, “The attention of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has been drawn to some online news flash and on Daily Newspapers, on July 25th, 2017, which quoted the Lagos State Governor as having said that the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division had set aside the Federal High Court judgment which empowered NIWA to regulate inland waterways including dredging activities and has now empowered Lagos State to regulate same within Lagos State.

“In this connection therefore, NIWA wishes to clarify that the Court of Appeal only granted Lagos State the power to legislate on Intra-State Waterways (i.e. such waterways that originate and end within Lagos State). However, such waterways do not exist in Lagos State because all bodies of waterways in Lagos State are either, international, tidal, intra-coastal and/or inter-state waterways.

“The Court of Appeal retained the power to regulate international, intra-coastal and inter-state waterways in NIWA being items provided under articles 36 and 64 of the  exclusive legislative list of the 1999 constitution (as amended). It should be noted that, NIWA was not the plaintiff in this case at the lower Court as wrongly perceived, but a co-defendant with Lagos State.

“It is also imperative to notify the public that beside this Court of Appeal judgment, there is also another subsisting Court of Appeal decision in G. M Ent. Ltd vs C.R. Investment Ltd. reported in (2011) 14 N.W.L.R. part 1266, page 125, where the Court of Appeal held that NIWA has been conferred with far reaching power and right to control, develop, manage and use all the lands, navigable waterways, inland waterways, river ports etc throughout Nigeria. The position therefore remainsthat it is only the Federal Governmentthat can regulate Inland Waterways, Shipping, Navigation and Dredging activities within the Nigerian Inland Waterways and its Right- of - Ways.

NIWA also, in the press release, called wishes all Maritime and Dredging Operators to disregard the latest claims by the Lagos State Government, remain calm and continue to carry on their legitimate businesses as regulated by NIWA.

The statement to the press also confirmed that NIWA has “already filed an appeal against the judgment at the Supreme Court pending the formal transmission of the judgment to NIWA.”


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